Five Funerals and No wedding.

Run…run for the hills…It’s that time of year again . I’ve been trawling through my work in 2014, some great trips and some fascinating jobs as is usual and as expected this blog will have a whole shed load of pictures. My jobs this year seemed to have formed themselves into loose groups.

Royals is one group including trips to New Zealand, Australia and Oman. I seem to have photographed Prince Harry a lot this year compared with previous years and obviously The Duchess of Cambridge still figures quite high on the table too.

Politics is in there too, though I notice I’ve somehow managed to avoid the biggest political character of the year Nigel Farage.

WWI and WWII both had big anniversaries this year; the 70th for D-Day and of course 100th for the start of the First World War. The fantastic Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at The Tower of London featured heavily and when Princes Harry and William visited with The Duchess of Cambridge it seemed to tie my year all together with the royal coverage I’d been doing elsewhere.

As always there was the supply of ‘fluff’… photocalls, features, business portraits and the hardy annuals of Wimbledon and Ascot.

The final group is funerals. I’ve covered five this year. The first was the funeral of Roger Lloyd-Pack, ‘Trigger’ from Only Fools and Horses. The second was of Private William McAleer buried 100 years after his death during WWI. Labour MP and anti-war campaigner Tony Benn was next. The Duchess of Devonshire’s funeral at Chatsworth House was a considerably different affair with estate staff lining the route, something I’d never seen before but saw again quite soon after at the Duke of Marlborough’s funeral.

I’m not really going to say much about the individual pictures or talk about the jobs themselves because I wanted to mention a few observations about the industry I work in that have come to the forefront this year.

Apparently cameras, especially the ones on iPhones, are so good nowadays that anyone can do this job. Local newspaper groups have been laying off experienced staff photographers on a catastrophic scale and replacing them with reporters using smartphones and User Generated Content (UGC). The NUJ was even offering courses for reporters on how to get the most out of their iPhones. After much uproar and hard work by photographer members the course was cancelled, but the principle was upheld that courses would be available for any member in any area so it’s only a matter of time until this raises it’s ugly head again. That aside, I think the move to using the work of visually literate professionals to using what is essentially amateur material is very dangerous, especially if that work is submitted from unknown sources and is difficult to verify. We’ve seen examples of photographs being used for propaganda in wars when they were taken in a totally different conflict. There was also an incident at Belmarsh Crown Court: Press Photographers and TV Cameramen, aware of the Precincts of Court Legislation, were positioned so as not to contravene the law. They had all agreed to stay back because the reporters congregating a foot from the door were worried that if anyone was seen with a camera by the door then they (the reporters) would get moved off the precincts and would not be able to question the ‘target’ as he left the building. When the ‘target’ came out the reporters all started filming and photographing on their phones, blocking the picture professionals they were actually working with. Their pictures were poor and not worthy of publication, which you would expect but the real problem here is their lack of understanding of the law. They were photographing and filming on court precincts, which is illegal. They were breaking the law because they are not trained to do the job. I think it’s fair to say that this sort of action is insulting to say the least. The fact is, and especially on local papers, the reporters have little or no choice about absorbing the role of a photographer (though one group, The NUJ Chapel at Newsquest Stourbridge, has just refused to do exactly that) you can’t really blame them. They are told to do it and there is not that much they can do about it.

The really big problem with reporter pictures and those sent in by the public, which local newspaper groups use at the expense of staff photography, is one of quality. The fact is most of the time these pictures are rubbish.  They are often unsharp, frequently poorly exposed and almost always badly composed and as such add nothing to the publication, whether in print or online. The publication suffering is not a good thing, it means you lose readers and subscribers, which ultimately means you lose advertisers and revenue. If you lose advertisers what do you do ? Answer, you lose more jobs. This causes more damage to the publication and the spiral down to full closure becomes just a matter of time.

Essentially it is a problem with management. It seems the theory of increasing profit by cutting back is the only strategy many of our industry leaders rely upon. Often they are accountants who understand maths but really can’t get their heads around creativity. They don’t seem to see that people, readers, subscribers and advertisers don’t want a second rate product. Cutting back, making the people who create the product redundant whilst employing more accountants to justify the redundancies is quite obviously not the way forward, but these idiots are not going to sack themselves are they? They will however be the last rats standing as the industry sinks, at which point they’ll give themselves a big pay-off and move onto another industry to screw up.

One of the arguments to be thrown at photographers earlier this year was that the quality of cameras is such nowadays that really anyone can do the job… Which I’m afraid is true. However the natural conclusion of this logic is that surely the quality of pens and pencils is so good nowadays that anyone can be a writer… Also true, but there is a world of difference between a good writer/reporter and the average Joe on the street isn’t there?

True, anyone can take a picture and indeed anyone can write a story but the difference is all about the quality. It’s quality that readers, subscribers and advertisers want. A pen is like a camera, it is a tool. In the hand of someone who knows how to use it it becomes a whole lot more.

Anyway, here are some pictures that anyone with an iPhone could have taken….

See if you can spot the one that actually was.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . . . . . .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . . .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . . PIC:Eddie Mulholland    Mcc0058751 Plebgate .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 . . .

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D-Day 2014

I’ve covered the 50th, 60th,65th and now the 70th Anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy. Each and every time its been the greatest of privileges to meet and photograph the veterans who took part in that heroic endeavour.

As usual with any event that involves Heads of State and Royalty the form filling and accreditation procedures were ridiculously over complicated . The biggest challenge was to acquire a ‘Presse’ car sticker which would allow you to move around on the roads which were to be closed to everyone else on the big day… previous experience had shown this not to actually work but we waited around for 3 hours anyway to pick them up. My colleague Paul Grover spent this time elsewhere picking up the relevant passes required for each seperate event. By the end of the day we had all the bits of plastic and paper that we needed and just had to decide who was covering what. A further meeting with The Palace press people the following day was the last piece in the jigsaw.

Paul and I were in agreement that the veterans were to be our main concern. We found quite a few of the veterans also felt that the event had been a bit hijacked by VIP’s . We were going to have to cover the Royals when they turned up but prior to the big day we would concentrate on the ‘vets’.

I had a portrait to do of a fella called Jock Hutton who at 83 years of age was going to be parachuting back onto the field he’d landed in 70 years ago. There was also a video of him chatting to shoot so that (what with picking the passes up) took care of Tuesday 3rd.

I’d had this idea to shoot a set of portraits and to get the person to say a few words which would then be laid over the photograph on the website. The desk was quite keen that we did this sooner rather than later so Paul and I set out on Wednesday 4th to track some veterans down and get this project done and dusted. The main problem wasn’t finding them but finding them ‘Blazered up’ as in wearing official blazers and all their medals and berets. They generally only wear these on certain occasions so we had to track ones down that were actually attending official events. Paul tracked a group down in Arromanches and with a little help from my friends I tracked down a coachload in Thury Harcourt who were attending several events that day. I did the pictures on my Nikon 50mm 1.4 and used a ‘Zoom H 1″ MP3 recorder.

When someone you know passes away it’s easy to be reminded of what they looked like with photographs but the sound of their voice is far harder to recall, I was hoping this gallery  would keep these veterans frozen in time .

This link should take you to the gallery :

On the 65th Anniversary Peter Macdiarmid from Getty and I had photographed a display of about 20,000 Union flags planted in the sand at Asnelles (Gold beach) by British Legion volunteers each one with a message to the soldiers who took part in 1944. This year they were repeating the display so that was one for Thursday 5th. I covered a Royal Artillery ceremony in Hermanville in the morning which made great pictures once we took some of the Veterans out onto the sand. Then as I was finishing wiring I got a call from the desk saying that a picture had dropped of the flags already and there was quite a lot of interest in it. I said I’d be there in ten minutes and tore off up the coast road, I say tore up but it was more like an amble behind loads of ‘re-enactors’ driving WW2 jeeps and wearing WW2 uniforms.

Dave Parker from The Mail was in the car park by the beach when I arrived. We needed a veteran or two to pose with the flags and a two coachloads had just left. Dave spotted one and we wandered over to have a chat, his name was Cyril Ager (89). As usual with these men he was only too happy to help and we chatted for a few minutes then wandered over. I had no idea what the picture was like that the desk were interested in but there was only really one way to shoot it. The only question was where to focus on the veteran or on the nearest flags or stopped right down and somewhere in between. I did all the above and they went for the one that was sharp on him.

DDAYPG1I quite liked this version

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107

And the Veterans from the Wiltshire British Legion back on Sword beach Hermanville.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107

June 6th was an early start. I wasn’t convinced that the car stickers would work so I set off for Arromanches at 5am. Paul left for Bayeux at the same time.

I saw the sun rise over the beach and did some pictures of the Normandy veterans Association raising their flag for the final time then settled in to wait for the ceremony at 6pm that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be attending. The guessing was that at some point we would see the royals in amongst the veterans. In an ideal world they would join in the sing song at the end of the ceremony and link arms to do ‘Auld Lang Syne’. In the end the only time they were with veterans was at a pooled Tea Party out of sight. The pictures from the fixed point were boring. It was a massive missed opportunity by the Palace but having said that the day wasn’t about Kate and William so in a way I think they made the right call.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107Bill Price (99) and fit as a fiddle back on the beach at Arromanches.

Just when we thought D-Day was over a spanner was thrown into the works. A Pensioner, Bernard Jordan (89) had allegedly ‘Escaped’ from his Care Home in Sussex and made his way to Normandy to take part in the events. Eventually we got his name then the evening turned into a search for him only ending in the port of Ouistrehem at about 23.15 when footage emerged on ITN of him taking the ferry back to Portsmouth at lunchtime.

June 7th was a Saturday and being part of the seven day Telegraph pictures operation meant Paul and I had to track something down. Paul went to Ranville to see if any veterans were visiting the cemetery and I went to Port-en-Bessin where I’d heard there was a ceremony to commemorate The Royal Marines. I was joined by fellow photographer Phil Coburn who was on for The Sunday Mirror.

Hand on heart this was without a doubt the best and most moving D-Day event I’ve ever covered. I don’t think the story is particularly well known, probably because it is remembered the day after D-Day so most of the media have left Normandy. The bones of it are that on the 6th June 1944 47 Royal Marine Commando landed taking heavy losses at Asnelles.Five of the Landing craft carrying the Commando ashore were sunk by mines and beach obstacles with the loss of 76 of the 420 men. They fought their way inland then moved across behind enemy lines to Port-en-Bessin which was their target. Two gun emplacements had to be taken to liberate the town and secure the port for fuel lines to be installed which would then allow the vehicles of the allies to push on into France and eventually Germany.

The great thing about this event was the obvious warmth that the town felt towards the men who had liberated them. The French are a very welcoming people and they really opened up their arms to these returning heroes. The parade of vintage vehicles through the town drew massive crowds and when a veteran was spotted in the seat of a jeep or lorry in his distinctive green beret the locals would reach out to shake their hands often encouraging their children to reach out also. No VIP’s in sight apart from the real ones who had actually been there 70 years ago.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107



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2013 Review

Another interesting year. Let’s be honest there would be very little point in doing this job if it wasn’t. It’s also been an amazingly momentous year. A future king born, a British winner at Wimbledon and the death of two historical figures, Thatcher and Mandela. I’ve been privileged to cover almost all of those stories and had some fantastic publications. I’ve gone into depth elsewhere on here about many of the jobs and it’s all there in the  Mumbles archive if you want more details, this collection is really my favourites of the year. Not always the picture that was published, more a personal choice of what I was most pleased with. Lots of royals and politics as usual and a few newsy and featurey bits thrown in for good measure.

Hope you enjoy them.

Evan Davies and a 3D printed version of himself at the Science Museum..COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion and the grand prize. I shot it to show him reflected in the cup and got lucky with the engraving of the last British Men’s winner Fred Perry. .And my lucky ‘catchy flashy’….One of many ‘Arts’ jobs… .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107You may not recognise this fella but many of you will have stayed in his hotels Mr Bill Marriot. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Ed Miliband doing his best impression of Gromit. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107The Duchess of Cornwall enjoying a sweet in The Royal Box at Wimbledon. .Call me Dave having a bad day and trying to avoid us after his plans to attack Syria fell apart. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Genuinely top bloke Mark Cavendish. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary .Nick ‘Laurel’ Clegg. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Deforestation story from Liberia. .. . . . .Dominic Grieve .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107The Countess of Wessex and a Tardis in Buckingham Palace. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Trooping the Colour Fly-past. .Baroness thatcher’s funeral, St Paul’s. .The BIG wide shot.…And a shot from exactly the same position but on a slightly bigger bit of glass….Run to the Beat Half Marathon, Greenwich Park. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Prince George and The Duchess of Cambridge. .Paul McCartney in Covent garden. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Kamar  sister  of ‘slavery’ victim. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107“New Balls” Wimbledon. .The King, Maldon Mud Race Essex. .Trafalgar Day Parade..COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107The Queen’s Coronation. Outfit of Prince Charles, on display at Buckingham Palace. .Brighton West Pier. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107The Duchess of Cambridge visiting Baker street Underground. .The Queen visiting Baker street Underground, where she drove a tube home… .Prince Harry gets in a group ‘selfie’ in Nottingham. .Prince Harry and a personalised Lab Coat at the Centre for Blast Injury Studies, London. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107In the ring in Nottingham. .SAS Veterans at the site where  9 SAS soldiers were executed during WW2. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107The Shard in low cloud. .Probably my favourite picture this year. “Sacred Soil” from cemeteries of WW1 Battlefields in Flanders brought back to Britain to be placed in the new Flanders Memorial Garden at The Guards’ museum Wellington barracks .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107

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Sunday Review-03.11.13

A little off the beaten track for ‘Mulholland’s mumbles’ but in the current climate of image theft from websites and social networks instigating T’s & C’s that are alarmingly similar to right’s grabs I thought I’d share my method of ‘Watermarking’ photographs.

It’s stunningly simple and I’ve found myself showing colleagues on numerous occasions. It involves Photo Mechanic (PM) so if you don’t use that it’s not much use to you, though I would suggest you invest in a copy because in my opinion it is an invaluable piece of software.

Use PM to open the folder that contains the pictures you want to watermark .

Select all the ones you want to mark then hit ‘save as’. In the drop down menu that appears you will see a ‘watermark’ button press this for another drop down menu where you can write whatever you want in a text-field (© symbol is ‘alt’ and ‘g’ ). Have a play with the position, size and opacity ( you can see the settings I generally use in the picture below). When happy hit the ‘OK’ button and it will apply the watermark to every picture selected.

PM will give you the option to save them by default to the folder the originals are in or you can create a new one solely for ‘Watermarked’ images. I do the latter and leave it on my Desktop so I know if I need to upload anything it’ll be in that folder and will be ready to use.

It really is that easy.


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Sunday Review-27.10.13

OK folks it’s time for a bit of Mumbling Photographic fun.

I absolutely love local newspapers and had many a happy year on them before the move to Fleet St.

The work involved was very similar to the nationals on occasion but mostly it was a genre all of it’s own. Often cheesy but also challenging it provided a great training ground. Working at The South London Press with the likes of Jeremy Young, Mike Powell, Jonathan Evans, Martin Godwin, Graham Barclay, Chris Bott and Peter Jordan was great experience. We had our own darkroom, we were in charge of ordering film, chemicals and photographic paper. We were also given a great deal of freedom to photograph jobs the way we saw fit.

Martin was at a job with The Mayor of Southwark once when she took to the stage and during her speech seized the opportunity to berate him (and us) in front of the great and the good for refusing to take her picture. We had a policy that we would cover the jobs but we’d never actually have the Mayor (or any mayor) in the photographs.

It was around the time of the launch of The Independent and Newspaper photography was in the ascendant. My first editor Richard Woolveridge told us to go and take nice pictures so we did. Simon O’Neil and Rob Bowden also just trusted us to get the work done.

I’m really fond of some of the real cheesy stuff I shot then, we all did it but it was with our tongues firmly in our cheeks. Having said that the big jobs did come along on occasion be it breaking news like The Clapham Train Crash or a royal venturing Sarf…

Anyway here are a selection of the good the bad and the ugly..

That should read copyright Jeremy young who took this one of me in action.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107A handsome Sarf London family celebrate with their 100 year old matriarch who loved watching horse racing on the TV (hence the TV).

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107


I vaguely remember that the gist of this story was that the bowls club only had one plug socket so the tea urn had to be plugged in in the ladies changing room with hilarious consequences….COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107I think this chap was called John Gladden..he erected a Swordfish on his house in Norbury and a planning permission battle escalated to this… .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107

…No idea…new management at the Brockwell Cafe….COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107

..again no idea….COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Lookalikes at the opening of a furniture store in Fulham..this was actually for The London Newspaper Group. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107The Classic “Bad Smells from the drain” picture… .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107A break from cheese to hard news during The Clapham Train Crash. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Police enter a building during a seige..Brockley I idea how I got so close. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Security guard with gunshot wounds to his leg after an armed robbery across the road from our Streatham office. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Typical dodgy housing story. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107“Someone stole our dog”… .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Diana visiting Kennington. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107The last days of the Peak Frean’s biscuit factory in Bermondsey. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Queen Mum…no idea where. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Iris Bentley sister of Derek Bentley who was controversially hanged in 1953 over the murder of a policeman during a burglary. Despite being in custody (held down by another policeman) and not actually firing the shot he was none the less given the death sentence. Iris campaigned for his pardon ..COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107” A Darwinian Nightmare” a “Bandog” a cross between a Rhodesian Ridgeback and an American Pitbull. My very first Page 1 for The Daily Telegraph after the SLP had used it. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Local boy David Bowie back in Brixton..Tim Bishop of The Times is the chap in the background with the ‘Metz’ flashgun. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Ballet for local schoolkids at Dulwich Picture Gallery. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Police patrols in the underpasses at The Elephant and Castle. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Armed police storming a flat in Kennington. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107“Healthy Fruit” God knows… .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Kids playing in an impromptu paddling pool following a mains burst in Bermondsey. DTEMLOCAL19Rough sleepers in the ‘Bullring’ under the roundabout at Waterloo. DTEMLOCAL18Simon Hughes…he’d do anything to get in the paper.. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107A very bizarre way to illustrate a story about a local carpet company fitting a blind woman’s house for free. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Roy Hudd opening a charity shop. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107You can’t beat a raised eyebrow…I think it was a sponsored doughnut eating competition.. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Not sure if the farm is still about but I doubt the protestor is. .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107



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Bloody PRs – Sunday Review-06/10/13

As the saying goes ” PRs … can’t live with them….. can’t beat them to death with a brick ”

In our world of Press Photography the roles of PR and Press Officer have mutated into one and as such when I refer to PRs I include the latter species too.  They are the front-line. They are the barrier between us photographers and the ‘talent’.  They exist to mediate between said ‘talent’ and the demanding hordes of unwashed ‘snappers’.  Heaven forbid that the unwashed should ever actually get to communicate with the ‘talent’ one on one. That would never do. Why ?  Well, maybe because the ‘talent’ would realise that they didn’t actually need to pay for these minders at all.

There are two types of PR.  There are good ones and there are dreadful ones.  It only takes the shortest of exposure to categorise one when you meet them.

The good ones talk to you as an adult addressing a fellow adult.  They defer to the idea that as a professional you understand the requirements of your job.  They ask what you require and try their hardest to give you it on the basis that they’ve invited you to the event because they want the publicity for their subject.  As a newspaper photographer my role is to get my photographs published in my newspaper.  I know this seems like I’m stating the bloody obvious but sometimes you have to wonder whether the vast majority of PRs actually understand that fact.

A good PR knows I want to get my photos published.  A good PR also wants me to get my photos published.

Nobody says they have to fawn over you.  All they need to do is be receptive to ideas and if possible facilitate those ideas remembering that out of the two of us I am the expert. A good PR will learn very quickly what photographers need to get a publication and will tailor the photo-call to make this more likely.  Some of the best PR companies actually involve a photographer in the development phase of the concept.  Crazy I know but some actually realise that to organise a photo-op it might be useful to take advice from someone who actually photographs.  Spooky.

I have the good fortune to deal with more than my fair share of good PRs. The people at Christies and Sotheby’s spring immediately to mind as do the people at Freuds that I’ve dealt with. One quite senior PR at Freuds once explained to me that he told newbies that the best thing they could do was to get the photographers onside, “get them to be your mate” was his exact phrase.

All seems to make sense does it not?

To summarise:

The photographer specialises in getting his/her picture published. The PR wants publicity for their event in the form of a picture published. That’s why they invite you and that’s why when you get there you come up with suggestions and often end up lying on your stomach on some filthy London street trying to get an eye catching image that will publish. When that image publishes, you the photographer are happy as are the PR and the PR’s boss. Everything is that simple.

Apparently not.

I’d love to know how this simple teaching scenario falls apart between PR school and actual practice in the real world and I think I may have spotted the solution. The fact is there is no such thing as a PR school.

This is where the second type of PR raises their ugly often cheap-suited head.

The bad PR sees their role not as a facilitator but as a barrier.

When they lower themselves to invite you to an event they will greet you with (if you’re lucky) disdain or more likely disgust. They (despite their visual illiteracy) will tell you what ‘THE picture is’. ‘THE picture’ is the idea that four or more PRs with no knowledge of photography came up with in a meeting at Carluccios’ the night before the photo-call.

The bad PR will do their best to make you feel unwelcome. They will often refuse entry to the event until a set time, leaving you stood outside on the street like an unwanted bag of jumble.

When you realise that ‘THE picture’ is never going to publish in a month of Sundays and you try in your foolish professionalism to try and rescue the said photo-call they will either dismiss you or develop sudden complete deafness. The very worst ones will threaten to have you removed (basically for trying to help them) if you suggest trying something else that might give the photograph a fighting chance of publishing.

When you move to the even darker realm of Political party PR’s the bar lowers even further.

The bad Political PR knows everything better than you.

They know where you should stand. They know where you should sit or kneel at conference. They employ the dreaded white tape lines that must never be crossed on pain of death.

Their minions are constantly at your ear telling you to move. They are pulling you or pushing you or poking you at every turn. They are known to block photographers and have been seen on many occasions actually putting their hands over lenses. Watch the footage of Ed Miliband being egged in Walworth, almost the first reaction was to stop it being recorded not to stop more eggs raining in.  As an aside, one of the PRs at that incident was trying to blame it all on a photographer.  Apparently the ‘egger’ had been seen talking to one before the incident. I can well believe that.  Strangely enough members of the public often ask the nearest person “what’s going on?” so what if that person has a camera it certainly does not implicate them in the incident.

This fantasy was used as an excuse at the conference in Brighton for the press office refusing to tell accredited photographers that Ed Miliband was going to stand on a table in a street and do a Q & A session with the public (more like carefully picked party members and SOME public) as a curtain raiser .

The bad Political PR will lie to your face. When you ask if there is any chance of a facility to do the Leader writing his speech he will say “no that’s not happening” …  then an hour later the pictures miraculously appear.

I guess it’s all about control and trust. They don’t trust us (well most of us) because they can’t control us (well most of us).  But it’s all based on paranoia.  They’ve seen Malcolm in The Thick of It and they think that’s the way to act.  They’ve lost sight of the basic lesson. They want publicity and we can provide it.  And that’s the nub of the problem in this particular area.  The thing is Political PRs don’t just want publicity.  They want their own idea of publicity.  But that is by definition propaganda not publicity and we aren’t there to help them with propaganda.  PR and Journalism are two different things.  Publicising a celebrity’s new book to fill some space in the paper is one thing but covering politics is different that is journalism.  The best political photographs of the last two decades, whilst I’ve been working for The Telegraph, were taken by my colleague Martin Argles of The Guardian.  They were behind the scenes from the last election and culminated in a series from inside Downing Street when Gordon and his team finally realised their time was up.

Classic reportage, journalism, and a far cry from stunted up photographs of Ed or Dave ‘caught’ laughing with their family.  There was one stage when photographers were told they couldn’t use flash with Dave because it ruined the effect of spontaneity.  Spontaneity at an orchestrated event?  How we laughed at that one.

So where does it all go wrong.  At what point in PR school do the bad ones drop out.  Do they do a different syllabus to the good ones ?  Is it a different examining board?

Oh I forgot they don’t have a school do they.

So how does it happen.  Who in their infinite wisdom tells the bad PRs that their way of operating is acceptable?  It’s a mystery. We try again and again to tell them the error of their ways but it’s too late by the time we meet them.  By the time they meet us they are less likely to listen to reason than a Cyberman.

I may have been in this job since before some of them started school but the bad PRs are still the experts.

And one last thing on this subject . One last cast iron indicator of what type of PR you are dealing with. The bad PR will call you a snapper.

Here are a few pix I’ve taken over the last month or two.  Some of them with the help of good PRs and some despite the efforts of the bad ones.  Some without the influence of either … astonishingly the world does keep on revolving without either kind.

This is David Cameron trying to sneak out the back of Downing Street on his way to Chequers. This was the Friday after he’d been humiliated in the House of Commons over his attempt to initiate attacks on Syria over alleged chemical weapons use.  His press officers had spent ages getting the cars at the back to move back and forth to make sure nobody could see him leaving. Peter Macdiarmid had got him on a long lens walking to the car despite their efforts.  I got him in it.  It was a bit quick.  It’s nice when you beat them. Bad PRs.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107This is the set (excuse the indulgence of converting to black and white) from my assignment to Paris to show ‘Roma” gypsies begging and in some cases robbing tourists in the French capital. The worry is that they will all move to the UK.  None we spoke to were in the least bit interested in swapping Paris for Croydon.  No PRs.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107

DTEMDOG3Craig Revel Horwood from Strictly Come Dancing, a thoroughly nice fella with an equally nice PR.  There had been an administrative cock up and we had turned up two hours late for the shoot.  No histrionics they just went for lunch and met me in a nearby pub.

Very good PR.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107

Labour party conference. I think I’ve said enough about that.  Only need to add that Damien McBride turned up to rain on their parade.  BBC  Newsnight had an exclusive with him so they tried to keep him under wraps.  The chap driving the car is a Newsnight cameraman.  We had the ridiculous situation where the car was surrounded but the driver being one of us and not wanting a death on his hands drove out of the hotel as slowly as possible.  My mate Alan Davidson was at one point prostrate on the bonnet, feet off the ground shooting through the windscreen.  Bad PRs.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107 .COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107And a couple where the PRs left me alone ….COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107Not sure which category this one comes into. This is Mr Bill Marriott, the founder and executive chairman of the Marriott hotel chain. A very nice chap with a fearsome american PR lady. I actually liked her a lot and she left me alone to take pix where I wanted in the penthouse apartment of one of his hotels in London. She only lost points for asking me to stop taking pix during the interview. Fair enough if I’d been hosing it down with lights popping every second but I was shooting on the long end of my 70-200 on available light. He barely noticed I was there but she still felt the need to stop me. PR of both sorts..COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulhollandeddie_mulholland@hotmail.com00447831 257107This was the “Beats Half Marathon” in Greenwich park. The PRs for this were some of the nicest I’ve met for quite a long time. They provided bacon rolls and drinks and were totally organised. I was taken to the start where the “talent” would be brought to be photographed starting the race. Only problem was that nobody had told the “talent” about this and they never turned up. They were very apologetic and pointed out the vantage point for the picture below. It never published but 10 out of 10 for effort. Good PRs.

.COPYRIGHT © Eddie Mulholland 00447831 257107

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Sunday Review-07.07.13

Marvelous Murray did it.  I’ve been photographing the Wimbledon Tennis Championship for some time now and it was all leading up to the afternoon of 7.7.13 in SW19.  The only thing that bettered the weather was the result.  A straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic is no easy thing under any circumstances, but under the gaze of an entire nation deprived of victory since Fred Perry in 1936 it was nothing short of Herculean.  Andy Murray has had the ability for this win for some time but it is only since he has come under the wing of Ivan Lendl (who never won Wimbledon) that he has seemed to have that little bit extra to make it over the final hump.  I remember walking to the car park with The Independent’s David Ashdown last year and saying to him “I bet you never thought you’d see that?” when Murray made it through the semi.  There was only one way to better that result and he did it.

Due to demand, it is only one photographer per publication allowed on court at any one time. The shooting positions are split between five areas. The most sought after spot is the East Pit which is a trench on the opposite side to the umpire.  There are 40 odd seats there, the British newspapers were given six of them spread out along the length of the trench.  We had two seats in the West Pit situated behind the umpire and the players’ chairs, which restrict the view of the tennis, but are perfect to watch for reaction shots of the celebrities in the Royal Box and the players’ families and (girl)friends.  We had one more seat where the Chelsea Pensioners sit, near the players’ entrance/exit, and one more up high in the commentary box in the roof of Centre Court.  The other prime position is also an elevated one by the scoreboard, under the Royal Box, known as Platform B.  We had two seats on that too.

We collected our tickets and did a draw to see who went where.  After a bit of negotiating and haggling we all had our spots.  I was going to be in seat 32 East Pit.  My mate Murray Sanders from The Daily Mail had been in that seat for the Mens’ semis on Friday and looking at his pictures I felt it was a good spot for the final.  I got lucky and drew that seat.  I’d mentioned to Murray that I wanted that spot and he was nearly as pleased as me when I got it.

I normally use three cameras for tennis.  A D3 and 300mm f2.8, D3 and 600mm f4 and a D3s with 70-200mm f2.8.  I carry a 24-70mm f2.8 in a pouch with  1.7x and 2x converters.  I also had a Speedlight and Quantum Turbo on this occasion for the picture of the winner with the cup, or as it’s known the Potshot.  The other vital bits of kit on this occasion were factor 30 sun block, a hat and lots of water.

The seat you get dictates which lenses you use for different parts of the match.  My position was such that all the action at my end of the trench was perfect on the 70-200.  Action at the other end was on the 300.  I swapped my 600mm for a 500mm at Nikon.  My lens is an old version and weighs about three times as much as the 500.

I wandered over, with Cavan Pawson (Evening Standard) at around 1.40PM.  2PM was the start time and settled down for the match. There is a little shelf in front of the seats where you can dump your bits and bobs.  Space is at a premium on Mens’ Final day so it was a surprise to find I had an empty seat on either side of me which stayed that way till the final set.  Maybe the agencies weren’t that interested in Andy Murray.

Heathcliff O’Malley, my fellow Telegraph photographer was watching everything else apart from Centre Court.  He had the onerous task of keeping an eye on Henman Hill (Murray Mount surely) and was lined up to shoot the picture of the winner and trophy on the outer balcony of Centre Court.  We were hoping the balcony shot would be Andy with his girlfriend Kim Sears (a favourite of all the Brit papers) and the trophy.  If it had been it would have knocked all the Centre Court stuff off the front of every British newspaper. It didn’t happen, but if it had …

It was roasting hot.  The crowd were buzzing.  I was almost thinking it would be easier if Djokovic won because the pressure would be off.

The last time I heard a roar like the one Murray got was in The Velodrome when Chris Hoy took to the track during last year’s Olympics.

It was electric.  Murray played a blinder, the way he’s always been able to.  His head was right and we got to 3 match points.  It went to deuce.  Maybe Djokovic could make a big come back, you can never write him off.

Murray won.  He was at the far end from me and when he won he turned his back on all of us and faced the scoreboard.  I don’t think he was being awkward I just think he didn’t know what to do.  Apparently Chris Hoy was sitting in that corner.  Either way, when he did turn there was an avalanche of pictures.

I shot match-point on the 70-200 then changed to the 500mm, then back to the zoom and then the 300mm…  I was all over the place, lens wise it was an ‘Indecisive Moment’ …  I don’t think I missed too much.

Lots and lots of pictures but no real ‘moment’.  The best potential was when he climbed up to the players’ family box to celebrate with his girlfriend, trainers and family.  If he had stopped and stood on the wall in the middle of all the spectators and given it a big roar and double fist punch we’d have had an amazing finale.  He didn’t.

The photographers who had armbands to go on court (another draw) and photograph the presentation went on court and the rest of us waited in the pit to see what we would get as he walked around with the trophy.  I watched him through the 500 as he sat in his chair waiting to be called for the presentation and saw his changing expressions… mostly disbelief… or maybe shock.  He seemed to be somewhere between ecstasy and confusion.

He got the trophy and I photographed him holding it aloft.  It was the picture we used on the front of The Daily telegraph.  He held it and kissed it for the privileged few on court then paraded it around the court.  My position never got a kiss but I didn’t think that was ‘the’ picture anyway.  The powers that be wanted what I’d sent, the Picture Desk said it was the only one amongst thousands they’d seen that showed him actually grinning like he was really totally ecstatic to have won.  It was a piece of history and I’m chuffed it was what they wanted and what they used.

A Brit winning for the first time since 1977.  A Brit man winning for the first time in 77 years, on the 7th of the 7th and only 7 days difference in age between Murray and Djokovic.  I just thank God it didn’t take 7 hours.

My favourite picture is one of the trophy showing the last British male winner’s name and date ‘Fred Perry 1936’ on the trophy with Andy’s face reflected.

I’ve also included an early Murray picture …  I wonder if you can spot it:
















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